So, you’re ready to take that next step in your career. You’ve looked around and perfected your resume, you’ve got all the advice you need and now it’s time you applied for an internship.
The thing with internships is that so many people will be applying for it and you’ll need to try and stand out from the crowd.
One of the ways you can do that is by submitting a cover letter along with your resume and job application.
But, you don’t want to bore the employer and you don’t want to overdo it. So how long should a cover letter actually be?
With this helpful guide, we’re going to examine all of the things to know when it comes to writing a cover letter for an internship and give you some handy tips in your search.
Table of Contents
The Basics To Know
The chances are that you’re in college or you’ve just graduated from college and you’re hoping to apply for an internship in your chosen field.
What a lot of students wrongly think is that an employer won’t even take into account a cover letter.
This can be a costly error, as prospective employers will almost certainly read your cover letter and those that do not include one might be ignored by someone that does.
The point of a cover letter is to indicate to an employer the type of person you are but more to suggest to the employer how your skills, qualifications and experience match the vacant internship position.
Next, you should be explaining how and why you want the position and your career goals in the future. Of course, you need to ensure that the employer’s views and goals align with you and vice versa.
The fact is, if you’re a college student – you’re likely lacking work experience, so your cover letter is perhaps more crucial than your resume.
You can discuss how what you’ve learned at college and potentially carried out in voluntary positions will fit with the role and explain why you are the right person to excel in this position.
This is where your career goals will come in, discussing career development and the eagerness for progression. So, what exactly should you put into the cover letter? How is it formatted?
Things To Include
Okay, so there are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to your cover letter inclusion. Consider putting in these:
The header of the letter needs to first and foremost have your contact information, otherwise you won’t get a reply!
Ensure you’ve written in your full name, your telephone number and your email address. You’ll also want to put on the opposing side the full company details.
Speaking of your email address, if you’ve got a silly looking email address – it’s time you changed it. You might not think it matters, but an email address can indicate the type of person you are to an employer.
If you’re serious about the position, don’t have a silly email address. Have your initials or your first name with some numbers.
Try not to make it too long because it can be mistyped and you could miss some important responses. It’s also important that you’re using a well-known and professional email platform like Gmail or Outlook.
Not only does it make it easier for future applications, but these platforms tend to consistently develop and are used widely with businesses.
You might be able to link these to your other devices which makes things so much easier and more convenient, especially if you are waiting for a reply.
You may also wish to include a link to your previous work, depending on what internship you’re applying for and perhaps your LinkedIn profile. Make sure both of these appear professional too though.
The “Meat” Of The Letter
The actual content of the letter needs to include the date that you are making the application, along with any possible reference numbers or links to the position.
Next, you’ll need to ensure that you are writing in a professional and formal manner. Using the word “dear” to begin with is the best.
Ensure you’re referring to them by their correct title and preferred pronoun. If you’re not sure, just use their title and name.
You’ll now need to introduce yourself and explain why you have included this cover letter, but do not start with “I am writing” because this is obvious and reads poorly. Simply explain the point of the letter and discuss yourself.
Perhaps explain that you’re close to graduating in [your subject] with [predicted grade] and you’re hoping to pursue a career in [field] and feel the company is the most ideal opportunity for you to do this because (explain why).
Remember, in your resume – you’re outlining who you are and what you’ve done but in the cover letter, you’re providing examples of why and how you have done it.
This will be able to indicate to a potential employer that you’ve learned from your experiences.
You can talk about your career goals and why this internship excites you, but make sure you’ve done your research on the company.
You don’t want to put wrong information in, it’s unprofessional and suggests that you don’t understand the company. If anything, it shows a lack of interest.
So, How Long Should It Be?
There’s no right or wrong answer as such – it’s more about the content. Of course, though, it’s important you don’t overdo it in the letter and begin to waffle.
As a rule of thumb, you can say a maximum of two pages at a font size of 12, but the quality of the content has to be there. Remember to include:
- Contact information
- The employer details
- Any references to the job and details of internship
- Skills and relevant experience
- Explanation of career goals and aspirations
- Sign off
If you get these steps right and the content is concise, to the point but detailed – you’ll be in good stead.
Don’t worry too much about the length of a cover letter to an internship, you’ll want to focus on the quality of the content.
Consider speaking with a career guidance counselor for some tips before you send the application off. You might not get another chance!